German Ambassador Dr. Arndt Burchard Ludwig, Freiherr Freytag von Loringhoven was selected to become NATO’s first intelligence chief on 21 October 2016 and took up his new post in December.   As the Assistant Secretary-General for Intelligence and Security, Freytag von Loringhoven oversees the civilian intelligence analysts providing assessments to the NATO Secretary General and allied Permanent Representatives as well as the military analysts working for NATO’s Military Committee.  He also is responsible for counter-intelligence efforts aimed at protecting NATO’s secrets.  Freytag von Loringhoven is a long-time German diplomat who served as Vice-President of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) from 2007 to 2010.[1]   His appointment places German nationals in charge of intelligence coordination for both NATO and the EU.  Dr. Gerhard Conrad, the BND’s leading expert on the Middle East, has headed the EU’s Intelligence Analysis Center (INTCEN) since early 2016.[2]     

NATO reportedly created the new post to streamline and coordinate intelligence analysis provided by NATO member states and provide broad strategic guidance to the Secretary General, North Atlantic Council, and NATO’s military commands.  The chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, Czech General Petr Pavel, said the new position would sit atop a revamped NATO intelligence structure that “pulls military and civilian intelligence together into one product” and ensures that NATO’s political and military leadership “will have one common intelligence picture that fuses and combines intelligence analyses from all available sources.”  Previously, differing assessments sometimes were delivered through various channels with little or no explanation of why they differed.[3]

According to a NATO spokesman, Freytag von Loringhoven will head a new department staffed with both military and civilian intelligence personnel.  The main areas of concern will be terrorism, support to NATO operations, and hybrid warfare activities such as those employed by Russia in its conflict with Ukraine.[4]

Professional Career:  Dr. Arndt Freiherr Freytag von Loringhoven has had a distinguished diplomatic career since entering the German Foreign Service in 1986.  His initial postings were as a political counselor in Germany’s embassies in Paris and Moscow, followed by an assignment to the planning staff in the German Foreign Office.   In 2002, he returned to Moscow to head the Germany Embassy’s political section, and in 2007 he was named Vice President of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND).  Freytag von Loringhoven served as the Foreign Office’s special envoy for EU questions, community policy, and strategic coordination from 2010 to 2013, and as Germany’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic from January 2014 until the end of November 2016.[5]   In a 2014 interview with Radio Prague, Freytag von Loringhoven stated that the two main themes of his career had been Russia and the European Union, where he had focused on European foreign policy but also dealt with economic and financial policy issues.[6]

  • 1986               Entered the German Foreign Service
  • 1989-1992 – Political counselor, German Embassy in Paris
  • 1992-1994 – Political counselor, German Embassy in Moscow
  • 1994-1998 – Planning Staff, German Foreign Office
  • 1998-2002 – Minister’s Office, German Foreign Office, speechwriter for Minister Joschka Fischer
  • 2002-2005 – Head of political section in the German Embassy in Moscow
  • 2005-2007 – European Correspondent, German Foreign Office
  • 2007-2010 – Vice President of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND)
  • 2010-2013 – Deputy Director, EU Department, German Foreign Office and special envoy for

EU questions, community policy and strategic coordination

  • 2014-2016 – German Ambassador to the Czech Republic
  • Since December 2016 – NATO Assistant Secretary-General for Intelligence and Security [7]

Education:  Arndt Freiherr Freytag von Loringhoven received his Abitur in 1974 from the Otto-Kühne-School in Bonn.  He studied history, philosophy, and chemistry at universities in Bonn and Berlin, and biochemistry at the University of Oxford in England, where he earned a Master’s Degree.  After receiving a doctorate in natural sciences in 1984, he became a researcher at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry at Martinsried near Munich.[8]

Political Affiliation/Leanings:  No information available.

Personal Information:  Arndt Burchard Ludwig Freiherr Freytag von Loringhoven was born 12 November 1956 in Munich, Germany.  He is married to Barbara Emilie Friederike Maria von Ow-Wachendorf.[9]  They are the parents of two sons.[10]

Arndt’s father Bernd Freiherr Freytag von Loringhoven served as a General Staff Officer on the Russian Front in the Second World War.  As adjutant to General Heinz Guderian, he participated in the military situation briefings at Hitler’s Führer Headquarters (FHQ) from July 1944 to April 1945.  He joined the West German Bundeswehr when it was formed in 1955 and rose to the rank of Lieutenant General before retiring in 1973.[11]  Bernd’s cousin, Wessel Freiherr Freytag von Loringhoven, served as a Colonel in the Wehrmacht’s High Command (OKW) and was part of the resistance against Hitler. He was a friend of Colonel Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg and provided the detonator and explosives used in the assassination attempt against Hitler on 20 July 1944.


Stephan Wallace is a defense and security policy analyst following political, military, and economic developments in Europe. He has worked more than 33 years on this area for the U.S. government, most recently for the U.S. Department of Defense. 

[1] “Deutscher wird erster Geheimdiest-Chef der NATO,” RP-Online (Rheinische Post), 21 October 2016,; Julian Barnes, “NATO Appoints Its First Intelligence Chief,” Wall Street Journal, 21 October 2016,; “Ex-BND-Vize übernimmt Geheimdienstposten bei NATO.” n-tv, 24 October 2016,

[2] Matthias Gebauer, “Mr. Hisbollah in neuer Mission – Deutscher Top-Spion koordiniert EU-Geheimdienste,” Der Spiegel, 11 December 2015,

[3] Julian Barnes, “NATO Moving to Create New Intelligence Chief Post,” Wall Street Journal, 3 June 2016,

[4] “Ex-BND-Vize übernimmt Geheimdienstposten bei NATO,” n-tv, 24 October 2016,

[5] German Embassy Prague, Lebenslauf des Botschafters Dr. Arndt Freiherr Freytag von Loringhoven

[6] Gerald Schubert, “’Die Ausgangsposition ist extrem gut’: Deutschlands neuer Botschafter Arndt Freiherr Freytag von Loringhoven,” 12 January 2014,

[7] German Embassy Prague, Lebenslauf des Botschafters Dr. Arndt Freiherr Freytag von Loringhoven

[8] Ibid.

[9] “Barbara Emilie Friederike Maria von Ow-Wachendorf,” Geneall,

[10] German Embassy Prague, Lebenslauf des Botschafters Dr. Arndt Freiherr Freytag von Loringhoven

[11] Lorenz Jäger, “Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven, Der Vorletzte aus Hitlers Bunker,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 4 April 2007,